Diesel Technology

Instructor: Rich Decatur



Students will learn the fundamentals of diesel engines with emphasis on medium/heavy vehicle and truck repairs. Students will study and practice all phases of diesel technology, including diagnosis of malfunctions; dis-assembly of engines and examination of parts; reconditioning and replacement of parts; fuel injection systems; auxiliary power units; and governors. Students will study and practice the operation of the steering, suspension, and braking systems, and the air intake and exhaust systems. Students will learn how to diagnose and test computer-controlled engine systems along with basic electrical system repair and diagnoses.


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Related Occupations

Fuel injection shops, service writer, aircraft and avionics equipment service technician, automotive service technician, mobile equipment service technician, small engine technician, and bus and truck technician.

Nature of Work

Diesel-powered engines are more efficient and durable than their gasoline-burning counterparts. These powerful engines are standard in our nation’s trucks, locomotives, and buses; and are becoming more prevalent in light vehicles, including passenger vehicles, pickups, and other work trucks.

Diesel technicians and mechanics work on heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers, cranes, road graders, farm tractors, and combines. Others repair diesel-powered passenger automobiles, light trucks, or boats.



Increasingly, diesel technicians must be versatile enough to adapt to customers’ needs and to new technologies. It is common for technicians to handle all kinds of repairs, working on a vehicle’s electrical system one day and doing major engine repairs the next. Diesel maintenance is becoming increasingly complex, as more electronic components are used to control the operation of an engine. For example, microprocessors now regulate and manage fuel injection and engine timing, increasing the engine’s efficiency. Also, new emissions standards may require mechanics to retrofit engines with emissions control systems, such as emission filters and catalysts, to comply with pollution regulations. In modern shops, diesel service technicians use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions.


Diesel service technicians use a variety of tools in their work, including power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches that remove bolts quickly; machine tools, such as lathes and grinding machines to rebuild brakes; welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems; and jacks and hoists to lift and move large parts. Diesel service technicians and mechanics also use a variety of computerized testing equipment to pinpoint and analyze malfunctions in electrical systems and engines.


Training & Advancement

  • Pennsylvania College of Technology,¬†Williamsport
  • Johnson College, Scranton
  • Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke
  • Vale Technical Institute, Blairsville
  • Nashville Auto and Diesel College, Nashville, TN.


Job Outlook


People who enter diesel engine repair will find favorable opportunities, especially as the need to replace workers who retire increases over the next decade. Opportunities should be very good for people with strong technical skills and who complete formal training in diesel mechanics at vocational schools. Applicants without formal training will face competition for jobs.

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Between $12.50 and $28.50 per hour


Scope & Sequence

(suggested academic & CTE per POS/SOAR):

  • Orientation and Safety
  • Tools and Fasteners/Hardware
  • Suspension and Steering Systems
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Brake System
  • Demonstrate Knowledge of the Engine,¬†Air Intake, and Exhaust Systems
  • Demonstrate Knowledge of the Cooling, Fuel, Electrical/Electronic, and Driveline Systems

Suggested academics: high school courses in English, mathematics, physics, applied communications, and principles of technology.

Articulation Agreements


Industry Certifications Available through Program


  • PA Inspection License
  • Safety and Pollution Prevention (S/P2)


Information can be obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov